American Grassfed Association
100% Grassfed Ruminant Program ~Measuring, Standards & Requirements
These requirements apply to all farms and ranches approved by the American Grassfed Association (AGA) for the production of Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals and products destined for certification by the AGA. Only farms and ranches using the AGA’s Certified American Grassfed™ logo are certified following these herein Grassfed Ruminant Standards practices:
1.1 Grass-based animal production.
1.2 Grassfed Ruminant animal access wholesome and nutritious grass-based forage.
1.3 Holistic approach to farm/ranch management.
1.4 Responsible animal care that supports humane, animal welfare.
1.5 Considerate handling, transport, and slaughter of Grassfed Ruminant animals.
2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS
2.1 Certified AGA Grazing Written Record
2.2 AGA Animal Transfer Written Record
2.3 AGA Processing Written Record
2.4 AGA Approved Supplements List
2.5 AGA Certified Grassfed Ruminant Definitions
3. PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
3.1 From birth to harvest, the sole primary energy/feed source for the AGA’s 100% Grassfed Ruminant Products, shall be derived from forage consisting of available and acceptable herbage to grazing animals, along with mothers milk.Grassfed Ruminant Products comes from Certified Grassfed Ruminants.A Certified Grassfed Ruminant is an animal who has received only herbaceous plant material and/or mothers milk (without confinement) as its entire food source, other than acceptable mineral and vitamin supplementation as defined in section 4.1.2, and no grain or grain by-products (100% of diet) for its entire life.
3.2 AGA Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals cannot be fed cereal grains, cereal by-products,cottonseed and cottonseed meal in their various forms, and/or soybeans and soybean meal in their various forms, nor can they be fed any animal by-products whatsoever.
3.3 AGA Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals cannot be fed for extended periods in confinement or creep fed grain and/or starch supplements.
3.4 AGA Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals must not be administered any antibiotics or hormones (other than naturally occurring in grassfed forage) at any time during their lifetime.
3.5 AGA Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals must be identified at the earliest opportunity following birth.
3.6 AGA Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals must be traceable by written record throughout their entire life from birth to harvest to the farm or ranch from which they originated.
3.7 AGA Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals must be traceable to a signed written record from each sale or transfer.
3.8 All persons with responsibilities for the AGA’s 100% Grassfed Ruminant Livestock Program must have complete understanding of all the program requirements.
3.9 Complete records regarding AGA Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals and supplemental feeds must be maintained.
4. GRAZING REQUIREMENTS
4.1 Producers are required to provide for inspection and retention by the certifying agency annual written record certifying:
4.1.1 Sole Energy/Feed Source:
220.127.116.11 From birth to harvest, the diet for AGA’s Certified 100% Grassfed Ruminant animals shall be derived from forage consisting of available and acceptable herbage to grazing animals, along with mothers milk. The forage may include perennial and annual grasses, forbs (legumes, brassicas, et cetera),browse and post-harvest crop residue without grain. Hay, baleage, haylage, silage, ensilage and crop residue without grain may be fed to animals while on pasture during periods of inclement weather, or low forage quality.The nutritional needs of the animals, will be satisfied by providing adequate forage that supplies their protein and energy provisions herein and shall not occur while in confinement except as noted in 4.1.3.
18.104.22.168 Any incidental grain (derived from the seeds naturally attached to herbage, forage, browse, et cetera) consumed in insignificant amounts are not intentionally fed in an attempt to circumvent the intent of certification. Any incidental grain consumed shall not detrimentally affect the Omegas, CLA, Beta Carotene levels or the levels of other beneficial nutritional values associated with Certified Grassfed Ruminant products, as proven by random testing.This will provide a consumer can be confident is 100% Grassfed, while sustaining 100% animal welfare and environmental benefits associated with Certified Grassfed Ruminant Program.
4.1.2 Mineral and Vitamin Supplements:
22.214.171.124 Mineral and vitamin supplements may be provided free choice to adjust the animals nutrient intake and correct deficiencies in its total diet energy source. Mineral supplements containing any grain or starch shall not be fed.
126.96.36.199 Non-approved supplement ingredients include, but are not limited to:
188.8.131.52.1 Cereal grains
184.108.40.206.2 Grain by-products (starch and protein sources).
220.127.116.11.3 Cottonseed and cottonseed meal in their various forms.
18.104.22.168.4 Soybean and soybean meal in their various forms.
22.214.171.124.5 Non-Protein Nitrogen (NPN) sources such as urea.
126.96.36.199.6 Synthetic vitamins, that are from manmade sources.
188.8.131.52.7 Animal by-products.
184.108.40.206 It is the intent of this provision to prevent the finishing of animals for slaughter in confinement such as a feed-lot situation wherein non grain products are substituted for grain. It is recognized that consumers expect grass finished animals to be different than grain finished not only by feed type but as well as by treatment of the animal. Therefore it is incumbent upon the producer to uphold this trust for the benefit of the entire grass-paragraph 4.1.3 and its subparts shall be construed narrowly unless otherwise noted to enforce the intent of this paragraph.
220.127.116.11 Animals are not allowed to be in pens or other confined areas where vegetation, forage growth, crops, or post-harvest crop residues without grain are not sustained in the normal growing season over the entire [paddock, pasture, range, et cetera).Said energy sources shall be available for them to forage on, in an unconfined environment on a daily basis. Such vegetation, et cetera, shall be the primary source of the animal’s daily diet.
18.104.22.168 Exemptions to these provisions are limited to emergencies that may threaten the safety and well being of the animal. Extended winters, wet weather, drought and naturally occurring conditions (fire, flood, et cetera) are not exempt from this provision as they are cyclical conditions that should be planned for as contingencies. Neither of these conditions shall lead to confinement.
22.214.171.124 Exceptions to this provision include roundups, sorting, transportation, and weaning of offspring. Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals cannot be fed in confinement more than 30 days per calendar year.
5. ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION AND TRACKING
5.1 Producers must maintain an Animal Identification &Tracking System sufficient to allow 48-hour trace-back. The system must include:
5.1.1 Explanation of the methods used for Unique Animal Identification
5.1.2 Tracking of all animals born, bought, sold or slaughtered
5.1.3 Comply with any federally implemented Animal Identification Plan.
5.1.4 Records must be made available to certifying agency during certification and inspections.
6. SUPPLEMENT LOG
6.1 Producers must maintain a Supplement Log to include:
6.1.1 How much, how often and what was supplemented (mineral blocks, salt licks, et cetera).
6.1.2 Receipts, ingredient lists and/or tear tags.
6.1.3 Log to be confidential and available to Certified Grassfed Ruminant inspectors only.
7. PURCHASE DOCUMENTS
7.1 Producers must have on file and provide to the Grassfed Ruminant certifying organization these supporting Purchase Documents:
7.1.1 Chain of Title. Reference to written records that all criteria outlined herein has been followed and is signed by the seller of any live animal(s) purchased by the certified producer.
7.1.2 Purchased Feed Receipts on file for any/all non-grass & legumes, feeds,minerals, supplements, et cetera.
7.1.3 Nutritional Tags or third party analysis for any/all minerals, supplements etc.
8. PROCESSING METHODS
8.1 Producers are required to have on file written records from any/all Processing Plants, which must include their methods for:
8.1.1 Ownership identification.
8.1.2 Animal and carcass identification.
8.1.3 Non-contamination from any/all products other than the producers Certified Grassfed Ruminant product.
126.96.36.199 Washing of the grinding equipment before it is used on the producer’s Certified Grassfed Ruminant product.
8.1.4 Packaging, labeling, and identifying the producers Certified Grassfed Ruminant product sufficient to identify the carcass, animal, or batch of animals within 48 hours.
9. ANIMAL HEALTH
9.1 The supplier shall develop and maintain a written record of all vaccines/medications and/or other substances used in their animal health care program.
9.2.1 No fed or injected antibiotics are allowed in Certified Grassfed Ruminant animals.
9.2.2 Antibiotic purchase receipts and injection records must be made available on demand to certifying authority.
9.2.3 Animals given antibiotics are allowed to mingle with Certified Grassfed Ruminant, non-antibiotic animals, but the producer must track and ensure this animal does not enter the grassfed food system.
9.3.1 No hormones of any type may be administered in any fashion.
9.3.2 Animals given hormones are not allowed to mingle with grassfed animals.
10. ASSESSMENT AND MEMBERSHIP
10.1 The annual cost for AGA Certified Producer Member, at this time, is $250 and it
includes assessment for certification and regular producer benefits.
10.2 The annual cost for an AGA Producer Member, at this time, is $100, and it is a separate type of membership from AGA Certified Producer Member; but a
Producer Member may upgrade to a Certified Producer Member by applying, paying the difference and going through the AGA certification process.
10.3 Unless otherwise noted, annual is defined as a calendar year from January 1st through December 31st.